Back-contacted back-junction silicon solar cells
Appears in the following Collection
- Fysisk institutt 
AbstractConventional silicon solar cells have a front-side contacted emitter. Back-contacted back-junction (BC-BJ) silicon solar cells, on the other hand, have both the complete metallization and the active diffused regions of both polarities on the backside. World-record efficiencies have already been demonstrated for this type of cell design in production, both on cell and module level. However, the production of these cells is both complex and costly, and a further cost reduction in fabrication is needed to make electricity from BC-BJ silicon solar cells cost-competitive with electricity on the grid ("grid-parity"). During the work with this thesis, we have investigated several important issues regarding BC-BJ silicon solar cells. The aim has been to reduce production cost and complexity while at the same time maintaining, or increasing, the already high conversion efficiencies demonstrated elsewhere. This has been pursued through experimental work as well as through numerical simulations and modeling. Six papers are appended to this thesis, two of which are still under review in scientific journals. In addition, two patents have been filed based on the work presented herein. Experimentally, we have focused on investigating and optimizing single, central processing steps. A laser has been the key processing tool during most of the work. We have used the same laser both to structure the backside of the cell and to make holes in a double-layer of passivating amorphous silicon and silicon oxide, where the holes were opened with the aim of making local contact to the underlying silicon. The processes developed have the possibility of using a relatively cheap and industrially proven laser and obtain results better than most state-of-the-art laser technologies. During the work with the laser, we also developed a thermodynamic model that was able to predict the outcome from laser interaction with amorphous and crystalline silicon. Alongside the experimental work, we have developed a two-dimensional BC-BJ silicon solar cell device model. The simulations, which are based on the finite element method, have been performed with the ATLAS device simulator within the Silvaco simulation framework from Silvaco Inc., USA. The device model has been used to optimize the design of a BC-BJ silicon solar cell based on experimental results obtained during the work with this thesis. The model is able to quantitatively predict the performance of cells with different designs, qualities, and dimensions through optical and electrical simulations, and thereby giving us a good indication of the efficiency potential of the cell structure. It has also given us valuable insight into the physics determining the performance of a BC-BJ silicon solar cell. From this insight, important conclusions regarding the design rules of this type of solar cell devices could be drawn. Finally, the device model was used to investigate quantum mechanical tunneling mechanisms in the junction between the adjacent, highly-doped regions of opposite polarity on the backside of the cell. Through the simulations we found some simple design rules that need to be followed in order to avoid shunting-like behavior due to unwanted trap-assisted tunneling in the lateral tunneling junction. At the same time, band-to-band tunneling entails potential current breakdowns at low to moderate reverse biases. This implies that local hot-spots can be avoided since the heat distribution under reverse bias will be distributed throughout the whole junction area. Thus, by careful optimization and tailoring of the doping profiles, the tunneling may enable the use of back-junction silicon solar cells in a solar module without the need for bypass diodes.
List of papers. Papers I, II, V and IV are removed from the thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Paper I K. Mangersnes and S. E. Foss. "Numerical optimization of a backjunction solar cell." Proceedings of the 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, pages 1701-1704, Milano 2007.
Paper II K. Mangersnes and S. E. Foss, "Laser ablation of PECVD oxide for structuring of interdigitated silicon solar cells". Proceedings of the 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, pages 2001-2003, Hamburg 2009.
Paper III K. Mangersnes, S. E. Foss, and A. Thøgersen. "Damage free laser ablation of SiO2 for local contact opening on silicon solar cells using an a-Si:H buffer layer." Journal of Applied Physics, 107, 043518, 2010. Copyright 2010 American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.3309382
Paper IV K. Mangersnes and S. E. Foss. "A thermodynamic model for the laser fluence ablation threshold of PECVD SiO2 on thin a-Si:H films deposited on crystalline silicon." MRS Proceedings (2010), 1245: 1245-A16-02 doi:10.1557/PROC-1245-A16-02 Copyright 2010 American Institute of Physics.
Paper V K. Mangersnes, S. E. Foss, and J. Gjessing. "Investigating the specific contact resistance on boron emitters in laser ablated holes in a passivating double-layer of a-Si:H and a-SiOx:H." Submitted to Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2010.
Paper VI K. Mangersnes and S. E. Foss. "Tunneling in back-junction silicon solar cells." Submitted to Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2010.